The Leaders

Maireád Redmond

Wexford

Chocolatier and Pastry Chef Maireád (22) lives at home in New Ross, Co. Wexford with her parents Noel and Mary. Her younger brother Adrian (20) is in college in Waterford I.T, and she has 2 older brothers; Sean (27) living in Waterford and James (25) who lives locally. Maireád studied culinary arts in college and is very passionate about working with food. This lead her to what many would consider a dream job; making handmade truffles, artisan chocolates and pastries. She has recently gone back to college to get a degree in Business, as she wants to open her own business someday. As a child, Maireád’s weight was an issue. She remembers her mother sitting her down and telling her she’d have to lose weight, as they were struggling to find a communion dress that fit her. Maireád applied for Operation Transformation so she can finally put her physical and mental health first and not to consistently leave them at the bottom of her to-do list. Maireád wants to lose weight, so she can be in control of her body and not let the image she sees in the mirror change her mood, her feelings or her confidence.

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Leader Name

Chris McElligott

Meath

Chris (46) lives with his partner Elizabeth and their 3 children Ryan (8), Dylan (5) and Mia (7 months), in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath but is originally from Ballymun. 16 years ago, Chris’ right leg was severed below the knee in a road traffic accident. He was on his way back home to play a football match when the van he was driving was jackknifed by a truck. 6 months later he was fitted for his prosthetic leg. Chris’ weight makes his everyday mobility more of a struggle, putting undue pressure on his prosthetic leg. Always having a passion for football, he was capped 26 times for the Republic of Ireland Junior International team. He also played for St Patrick's Athletic F.C. with Brian Kerr from which he has a league winners medal from 1995. He is now a Community Coach with the FAI programme Football for All working with children with disabilities throughout Leinster. He is also the current Head Coach of the Irish Amputee football team. Chris spends much of his time motivating others, but doesn't seem to be able to motivate himself.

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Leader Name

Yvonne Keenan-Ross

Louth

Café owner Yvonne (48) runs the business with her husband Stephen in Carlingford. They have two children Luke (14) and Karla (11). Yvonne struggled with her fertility for years. They did 6 unsuccessful rounds of IVF before having their son Luke. After Luke she knew she wanted another baby. They began IVF again, only to be told that her eggs were no longer viable. As they pursued other options, their daughter Karla was conceived naturally. Five years ago, husband Stephen was diagnosed with stomach cancer and had to have major surgery, and in turn give up work. Yvonne cared for him throughout his treatment. Last year, a secondary cancer was found in Stephen's lungs. This meant more surgery and more treatment. Thankfully, Stephen has had a second clear scan and is delighted to be in remission. After seeing herself in a full length mirror on holidays, Yvonne realised that she needed to make a change. Yvonne wants to be a shining example to her children so they will choose a healthy, active lifestyle for themselves, as they grow older. Yvonne would love to get fit so that she could be more confident with her body.

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Leader Name

Seán Daly

Dublin

Retail Manager Seán (25) lives in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin with his parents Lorraine and Alan and his younger brother Darren (19) with whom he shares a room. Seán’s family have been a great support to him since he came out five years ago. His mother Lorraine is very proud of him and tells everyone he’s gay. Seán has only been to one gay bar and has never been on a real date. He doesn’t know how someone else could love him if he doesn’t love himself. Seán is currently so unhappy with his weight, that he has been considering going to Poland to get a gastric band fitted. Seán has always been heavy. For his communion, he remembers getting his suit specially made. Seán never has breakfast and admits to having a chicken wrap and chips at 12pm as it’s technically lunch-time. Seán’s wish is to lose the weight and to one day look in the mirror and to actually like, possibly even love, what’s looking back at him.

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Leader Name

Marie Grace

Limerick

Part-time hairdresser Marie (32) is originally from Tipperary but lives in Pallasgreen, Co. Limerick with her husband Fergal (40). They have two daughters Lily Mai (3) & Daisy (8 months). After having daughter Lily Mai, Marie was rushed to hospital when her waters broke early with their second child. Marie gave birth to a little girl they called Michaela, who sadly passed away a few days later on the 18th Nov 2014. In 2015, Marie became pregnant again and they welcomed youngest daughter Daisy to the world. Daisy was diagnosed with severe acid reflux, and is currently on medication for this condition. Despite medication, the reflux is still a cause of discomfort for Daisy, and she regularly screams in pain throughout the night. This has meant that Marie hasn’t had a full night’s sleep since Daisy was born and both herself and Fergal are exhausted all the time. Marie's biggest concern at this point is that she will continue to get bigger and won’t be able to run around with the girls. Marie applied for Operation Transformation because she's lost all her confidence in herself and has no motivation.

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